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The Nia Ballerina Story

Nia Ballerina is a UK based company and we have designed musical jewellery boxes with a black ballerina.  We first launched our music boxes in August 2016, and currently sell our boxes worldwide direct to consumers from our own website. We also have a number of independent retailers located in Europe, the USA and Canada who stock our boxes.


Nia Ballerina is the inspiration of my own daughter, and her absolute love for ballet from the age of before she was even 3 years.  As any mother, I wanted to support my daughter in her passion and began to take an interest in the ballet industry.  It became obvious that ballerinas from diverse backgrounds were and still are hugely underrepresented within the industry.  I felt it was vitally important that my daughter saw images of herself as a ballerina, and one way to achieve this for children is by the toys they play with and books they read. 

My mother had bought my daughter a music box with a ballerina figurine, however I did not understand why the ballerina did not resemble my daughter!  I wanted my daughter to have a music box with a ballerina that looked like her, and had presumed music boxes with black ballerinas were readily available. 

I searched for about 18 months both in the UK and in different countries around the world but was unable to find any musical jewellery boxes containing black ballerina figurines.  I finally made the decision in the autumn of 2015 that I would begin the process of creating my own music box with a black ballerina.  The process of producing the music boxes has taken time, has not been easy and has meant learning a lot of new things and skills but has been worth it.

When the Nia Ballerina music boxes first launched, we were inundated with orders and struggled to keep up with the demand selling half of our total stock within the first week.  Luckily, we were able to reorder almost immediately after launching and now dispatch from the UK, and also direct from the USA via a fulfilment house. 

I never thought when I created this product for my own daughter there would be such a demand, however it shows that representations is important and that every ballerina deserves to see themselves when they open a music box.  As a mother, I do feel proud that I have created a product and brand, Nia Ballerina for my daughter, which is inspiring her to follow her dream of being a ballerina!


At the end of November 2017 and after a whole year of design and planning, we were able to launch Nia Ballerina the Character. We have already added the Nia Ballerina Doll and the Nia Ballerina Rucksack to our product range, and are currently working on a series of books about the adventures of Nia Ballerina.   

One last thing, the name “Nia” is very close to my heart and is an African name meaning "purpose" in Swahili.  In addition, Kwanzaa is celebrated by people from the African diaspora worldwide between Christmas and the New Year to celebrate African traditional values. There are seven principals of Kwanzaa, and "Nia" which is celebrated on the fifth day of Kwanzaa is one of these principles.

Nia Ballerina is the perfect gift whatever the occasion for any little ballerina!


Sharon McBean, Creator of Nia Ballerina
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